SKY News denies HR investigation

Updated: News Corp & SKY News deny any HR investigation is underway after the PM warns them to "be careful."

SKY News political reporter Andrew Clennell has denied any HR investigation underway at the broadcaster regarding claims made this morning by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

This morning Clennell queried the PM in a press conference.

Andrew Clennell: If you’re the boss at a business and there had been an alleged rape on your watch and this incident we heard about right on your watch, your job would probably be in a bit of jeopardy wouldn’t it? Doesn’t it look like you have lost control of your ministerial staff?

Scott Morrison: I will let you editorialise as you like, but if anyone in this room wants to offer up the standards in their own work places as comparison I would invite you to do so.

Andrew Clennell: They seem better than what is in yours.

Morrison: Let me take you up on that. Right now, you would be aware that in your own organisation that there is a person who has had a complaint made against them for harassment of a woman in a women’s toilet. And that matter is being pursued by your own HR department.

Andrew Clennell: I am not aware of it.

Morrison: You are not aware of it. So let’s not all of us who sit in glass houses here start getting into that.

It’s about taking responsibility

What I am suggesting to you is that there are serious issues here that no single individual can overwatch on every single inch of this place every second of the day.

I don’t think any Australian has that reasonable expectation. As far as I’m aware, the incident that was reported last night occurred long before I was prime minister of this place.

So it is not a matter that occurred while I was even prime minister. That goes to a long-standing culture of despicable behaviour in this place.

That is not something that I could be directly held accountable [for] even when I wasn’t in the role. When I am held accountable is what I do nowadays, what I am outlining outlining to you today. You are free to make your criticisms and to stand on that pedestal, but be careful.

Following the exchange Clennell on air said no HR investigation was underway at SKY News.

Update: News Corp statement from Executive Chairman Michael Miller:

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was wrong today to claim an investigation is under way into a complaint accusing an employee of harassment against a woman in a female toilet. No complaint has been received and News Corp and Sky News are not dealing with a complaint.

News Corp and Sky News take seriously any issues raised by staff and our utmost priority is to respect their privacy and confidentiality. This is standard business practice and because of this, we do not normally comment on private matters.

However given the Prime Minister’s extraordinary public claims made at a press conference broadcast live across the nation, I want to put to rest any suggestion that an employee of our company is being investigated for conduct suggested by Mr Morrison.

In recent weeks, following the reporting of matters of sexually inappropriate behaviour at Parliament House, our HR team proactively gave our staff the opportunity to talk to us in confidence about their well-being. I thank those who did so.

During these proactive conversations, the News Corp’s HR team learned of a verbal exchange between two News Corp employees in Parliament House in Canberra last year. The exchange was about a workplace-related issue, it was not of a sexual nature, it did not take place in a toilet and neither person made a complaint. Following those inquiries, our HR team wrote to one of the people involved and the matter was resolved.

The Prime Minister appears to have joined these two matters and conflated them into an episode of harassment in a toilet that is under current investigation.

This is simply untrue and it undermines the principle that people must be able to raise issues safely and in confidence.

News Corp has no further statements to make on this matter.

Source: Guardian Australia